By Abby Thornton
Rockbridge County voters in the Republican primary Tuesday followed the pattern of their statewide counterparts, giving Donald Trump a modest win over Marco Rubio.
In Lexington, Rubio won 44 percent of the Republican vote. Trump and Kasich earned the same amount of votes with 109, or about 20 percent, each.
Virginians were among voters from 11 states who cast their ballots to decide the Republican presidential nominee—and voters from Lexington and Rockbridge County sided with their state in support of Trump.
Polls were open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., although Lexington’s poll stayed open an extra 30 minutes because of a malfunctioning electronic poll book.
Rockbridge County Republicans showed surprising support for traditional conservative candidates Rubio and Kasich.
Republican voter Verne Fairchild also supports Kasich.
“Kasich has been a governor,” Fairchilds said. “He’s been a congressman. So he knows both sides of the government from the state side and from the federal side.”
Fairchilds expressed disdain for Trump—even though the businessman’s hardline positions on immigration and national security have helped him maintain a strong grassroots following.
Among the issues that topped the voters’ concerns were health care, immigration and national defense. But Rubio supporter Miller said that he also wants to see big government reined in.
“National security is the first order of business. Beyond that we have a government that is completely out of control,” Miller said. “We have government employees that are overpaid and can’t be fired, and it contributes to the deficit to have politicians making deals with unions that they will never be around to pay for. That’s a problem.”
Voter turnout for Rockbridge County was 33 percent—the highest since the 2008 Virginia primary. Rockbridge County Election Official Marilyn Earhart said that Tuesday’s clear blue skies and unseasonably warm temperatures may have helped restore voter participation.
“It was such a pretty day,” Earhart said. “I think that helped with the turnout. Everyone that I have talked to seems real upbeat, and we’ve had a lot of calls from voters that want to make sure they can vote in the election. They seem real upbeat.”